Walter Youngblood Analysis

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“I call it the cut-and-paste apartment,” Walter Youngblood, an artist and ice-cream man, said of the fourth-floor walk-up in East Harlem where he’s lived for 20 years.

He bartered a painting for the stove and rescued the bashed-in mini-chandelier from the trash. It hangs in the kitchen, which has colonized half the living room. The refrigerator stands in a far corner, and steel wire shelves jut out, with dangling pots, pans and heavy-duty sieves at the ready.

But the tool that Mr. Youngblood, 49, treasures most is one he doesn’t use any more: a set of ice-pop molds that he bought five years ago when he started his one-man ice-cream company, KingLeche Cremes. Made of silicone, the molds are covered by an aluminum lid with slits for wooden
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Since it is lower in fat than cow’s milk, he stirs in duck eggs for richness. He refuses to add stabilizers, believing they ruin the texture. This has led to occasional disasters, as when half a day’s stock melted.

Mr. Youngblood did not foresee a career in dairy. Once a business major, he switched to journalism, got involved in the anti-apartheid movement, followed the Grateful Dead, tried film school and wound up with a walk-on part in the movie “Kids” as half of a gay couple accosted by a band of feral skaters.

Not until he began waiting tables at WD-50 on the Lower East Side did he become serious about cooking. He marveled over the savory ice-cream flavors (“Cornbread!”) and asked Wylie Dufresne, the chef, if he could trail in the kitchen. He foraged for ingredients for his own concoctions: wild honeysuckle from the streets of Red Hook, Brooklyn; honey from his neighbor’s backyard hives.

Close at Hand
Celebrating the objects, practical or precious, that cooks find indispensable.
The Choreographer Mark Morris’s Nesting Dishes NOV 30
Amanda Hunt and Her Grandparents’ Italian Pitcher NOV
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Mae Barizo’s Kitchen NOV 2
David Liederman, Founder of David’s Cookies, Takes a Shortcut to the Trash Bin OCT 26
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This summer was a difficult season. “The bees didn’t survive the winter,” Mr. Youngblood said. His father died in July. But the small sum he bequeathed to his son will help Mr. Youngblood expand his reach beyond a few outdoor markets and restaurants.

Photo
Mr. Youngblood's ice-pop molds. Credit Dina Litovsky for The New York Times Continue reading the main story
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